The runup in Tesla stock has not only given the EV maker the title of “most valuable” due to its market cap, but also it means the company has some financial flexibility to grow the business — including acquiring a rival to expand its line-up and capabilities.
CEO Elon Musk didn’t dispel the notion while speaking during a conference in Berlin, Germany, after he was asked about it. “We are definitely not going to launch a hostile takeover. If somebody said it would be a good idea to merge with Tesla, we would have this conversation,” he said.
With the company’s worth well above $500 billion, more than the combined total of Toyota, Honda, Ford and GM combined, Tesla could certainly grow quickly through acquisition. Musk did not suggest that the company was looking to do so nor did reveal any potential targets.
(Tesla gets green light to sell Shanghai-built Model Y in China.)
Tesla’s never been involved in an acquisition of another automaker, although it’s been involved in a few partnerships in the past, notably Toyota and Daimler. It produced electric powertrains for each company and, in turn, they held an equity stake in Tesla during those deals. However, Daimler sold its portion in 2014 while Toyota exited in 2017.
Although the EV maker hasn’t bought another automaker in the past, it’s acquired several companies during its development as it needed additional capabilities or expertise in different areas, such as manufacturing.
However, with recent events, the company may have more “flexibility” than before after S&P Dow Jones Indices announced it will add Tesla to the index in one fell swoop. “S&P DJI considered the wide range of responses it received, as well as, among other factors, the expected liquidity of Tesla and the market’s ability to accommodate significant trading volumes on this date,” it said.
(Tesla stock surges as automaker is added to S&P 500.)
The company’s stock will join the index officially Dec. 21. There is no word yet on what company will be dropped.
Between now and then, index fund managers will need to start adding the stock to their portfolios to ensure their holdings are balanced. The early money, if you will, is that the stock will be added in tranches, making it easier – and less costly – to do so. The company is the largest one ever to be added to the index.
Being added to the S&P 500 only pushed the value of the stock higher. In January, it had a valuation of about $100 billion, that has since risen to more than $600 billion. The shares have gained 594% in 2020, compared with an 11% jump for the S&P, MarketWatch.com reported.
(Now worth more than all Japanese automakers, but Toyota’s CEO isn’t impressed.)